AUSTIN, Texas (March 16, 2012) – Whole Foods Market, the nation’s leading natural and organic supermarket (NASDAQ: WFM), has been recognized on the Ethisphere Institute’s 2012 “World’s Most Ethical Companies” list. This is the company’s fourth time to make the list since 2007, and Whole Foods Market is one of only three U.S. companies named in the “Food Retail” category.

Ethisphere evaluates hundreds of companies, naming only those that surpass their industry peers to the “World's Most Ethical Companies” list. This is the sixth year Ethisphere has published the WME rankings. The 2012 list features companies in more than three dozen industries, including 40 companies headquartered outside the United States.

“Whole Foods Market is honored to be recognized as a company with a conscience,” said John Mackey, co-CEO and co-founder of Whole Foods Market. “Our core values are at the center of the business philosophy that drives Whole Foods Market’s unique culture, growth and success. That success comes from making sure all our stakeholders – Team Members, customers, suppliers, shareholders, our communities and the environment– are part of our vision.”

The methodology for the WME ranking includes reviewing codes of ethics, litigation and regulatory infraction histories, evaluating the investment in innovation and sustainable business practices, looking at activities designed to improve corporate citizenship, and studying nominations from senior executives, industry peers, suppliers and customers.

The “World’s Most Ethical Companies” list is published in the current issue of the quarterly magazine Ethisphere and is available at